The Department of Sociology and Reconciliation Studies offers majors and minors in sociology and reconciliation studies. We prepare students to live and serve in our complex multicultural world of rapid urbanization, diverse religious voices, political conflict, and a widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

Sociology students are encouraged to use the tools of the social sciences to meet these challenges in the light of an informed Christian faith. The department offers programs to engage this changing world by building a sociological core, and applying these core understandings to such concerns as crime, poverty, and racism. The Sociology major uniquely offers two areas of concentration: urban studies and criminal justice.

Reconciliation Studies students critically engage with the centrality of Jesus, as a dimension of the Trinity, when they examine the biblical and theological basis for reconciliation. They learn how theories and practices from the social sciences, the humanities, and arts can inform their efforts to co-build relationships with communities and individuals in a diverse and conflict ridden world; they learn to participate in collaborative initiatives that tackle inequity, redress injustice, transform systems, and honor the human dignity of peoples through coursework and practical experiences (including a semester of study abroad that accommodates an internship position). These programs enable students to see the world from the viewpoint of the hurting, the despised, the oppressed, as they reflect on how their own experiences and histories shape their outlook and interactions with diverse peoples. The Reconciliation Studies major also introduces students to contemplative practices that can enrich their relationships with others and God as they co-partner with others to initiate social change for the common good.


Majors in Sociology and Reconciliation Studies

Minors in Sociology and Reconciliation Studies

ANT 200U • Introduction to Anthropology 3 Credits.

Study of humankind with an emphasis on human social and cultural systems. Focus on one non-Western culture in anthropological perspective. Study of the discipline, methods, and theories of anthropology.
Prerequisites: GES 130 or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Fall

SOC 101 • Introduction to Sociology 3 Credits.

Major concepts, theories, methodologies, findings, controversies, and history of sociology. Contributions of sociology to Christian life and thought.
Offered: Fall, spring.

SOC 205 • Introduction to Global Social Problems 3 Credits.

Introduction to global awareness and citizenship. Analyzes social problems and challenges facing the world, including the United States, with a view to action. Emphasizes interaction between global and local issues, and how solutions require broad cooperation. Topics may include education, energy, gender, health, population, social class, technology, urbanization, and work.
Prerequisites: GES 160, [GES 130 or GES 244]. Offered: Interim, even # years.

SOC 229U • Interaction with Urban Life and Systems 3 Credits.

Experientially based introduction to the religious, ethnic, and economic diversity of urban life. Formal and informal interrelationships of people living in the urban environment and various models for approaching urban ministry. Students explore the reality of living in urban life through intensive study of and interaction with a specific cultural group that lies outside the majority culture(s) found in North America. Students are encouraged to understand their own feelings and social roles.
Prerequisites: GES 130 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Interim

SOC 242U • Race, Ethnicity, and Peacemaking 3 Credits.

Exploration of the historical development of race and ethnicity as distinct but related social constructs. Analysis of the differential impact of race and ethnicity on groups and individuals. Appreciation of voices of peacemakers from both majority and minority groups.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring.

SOC 280 • Urbanization 3 Credits.

Cross-cultural and comparative study of urban development, form, and heterogeneity in advanced industrial societies and countries of the Global South, Central, and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Examination of the rise of cities, their growth in the United States and worldwide, and their functions. Issues of housing, crime, gangs, governance, and other urban issues. Students visit various cities as part of course study.
Offered: Fall.

SOC 304G • Sociology of Crime and Deviance 3 Credits.

Introduction to comparative criminal justice systems, and the role of the police, the courts, and correction institutions in both developed and developing societies. Cross-cultural and comparative analysis of theories and data used to analyze criminal behavior and deviance. How the media and crime-control agencies shape understanding of crime.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course] POS 202U or POS 310 recommended. Offered: Fall, even # years

SOC 315 • Social Responsibility in the Marketplace 3 Credits.

Explores the nature of the reciprocal relationship between businesses and society from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Examines contrasting ethical arguments in historical contexts about the role of business in society. Discusses how healthy relationships can be promoted between business and society for the benefit of both.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Fall. Special Notes: Carries cross-credit in reconciliation studies.

SOC 318G • The Urban Church 3 Credits.

Taught on site in cities around the world (e.g., Amsterdam). Students research the challenges of urban communities and help local churches develop church-based responses to these challenges. Intensive interaction with urban communities and churches. Method for applied and experiential learning in response to social needs.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Interim, odd # years

SOC 324 • Criminal Justice in American Society 3 Credits.

Grounded in the philosophy of criminal law, theories of deviance, and the nature and extent of crime in America, students are introduced to the American criminal justice system. Examination of the theory, structure, and operation of its principal components. Assessment of how well this system serves the aims of justice.
Offered: Spring, even # years.

SOC 326 • Restorative Justice 3 Credits.

Examines and analyzes the philosophy and principles of restorative justice, including its historical and theological roots by comparing and contrasting retributive and restorative paradigms. Applications of restorative justice examined from the perspective of victim-offender dialogue and the use of restorative justice principles in offender reintegration.
Prerequisites: SOC 324. Offered: Spring, odd # years.

SOC 328 • Criminal Law and Procedure in America 3 Credits.

Examines the structure, function, and principles of criminal law, includes the acts, mental states, and circumstances that are necessary elements of the crime and criminal defenses. Explores procedures from arrest to final disposition, with focus on exclusionary rules for the relevant constitutional amendments.
Prerequisites: SOC 304G or SOC 324. Offered: Fall, odd # years.

SOC 330G • Sociology of Third World Development 3 Credits.

Critically examines economic development theories and sociological issues for developing Third World countries. Strategies for promoting economic development and cultural change internationally, regionally, nationally, and locally. How changes intersect and affect Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Issues and processes involved in community development in a globalized society. Prerequisites: Must be enrolled in Bethel’s Guatemala Term program; .
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring

SOC 350 • Qualitative Research Methods 4 Credits.

Qualitative methodologies in the social sciences, with a particular focus in ethnographic field technologies. Interview and observation skills through field work in the Twin Cities area.
Prerequisites: World Cultures (U) course. Offered: Spring

SOC 351 • Quantitative Research Methods 4 Credits.

Study of quantifying social life to answer research questions. Focus on structuring of inquiry (research design, conceptualization, measurement, sampling), modes of quantitative observation (experiments, survey research, content analysis, evaluation research), analysis of data (univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistics), and research ethics. Students participate in actual quantitative research.
Offered: Fall.

SOC 361 • Sociocultural Theory 4 Credits.

Process of theory formation in the social sciences and concern with the relations between epistemology, analysis, and theory formation.
Prerequisites: One anthropology, sociology course. Offered: Fall.

SOC 372G • Religion in Society 3 Credits.

Comparative cross-cultural study of the social and cultural bases of religion in advanced industrial societies and non-Western cultures. Characteristic myths, beliefs, practices, and rituals of religious systems; the relationship between religious and other dimensions of social life; the factors underlying the development, persistence, manipulation, and change of religious organizations.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; GES 160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Spring, odd # years.

SOC 381G • Urbanism: A Way of Life 3 Credits.

Comparative study of urban life and urban social and cultural forces. Ways in which humans construct community; develop distinct urban lifestyles; and interact across social, ethnic, and religious boundaries. Special attention given to implications for urban planning, community development, and urban ministry.
Prerequisites: [GES 130; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES 246; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Fall

SOC 385 • Cross-Cultural Exp Guatemala 4 Credits.

An intensive experience of living and communicating in another culture for a minimum of two months in Guatemala. Student is fully immersed in the culture as much as possible and is guided by a mentor from the host culture.
Prerequisites: Must be enrolled in Bethel’s Guatemala Term program. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Guatemala Term, spring. Special Notes: Students may receive credit for only one of the following: SOC 385, SOC 387Z, or SOC389.

SOC 387Z • Cross Cultural Experience 4 Credits.

An intensive experience of living and communicating in another culture for a minimum of two months. Student is fully immersed in the culture as much as possible and guided by a mentor from the host culture.
Prerequisites: ANT 200U; Systems (G) course; application approved by the department prior to the experience. Grade exceptions: Graded on an S/U basis. Offered: Occasionally. Special Notes: Students may receive credit for only one of the following: SOC 385, SOC 387Z, or SOC389.

SOC 481 • Internship in Sociology 3-4 Credits.

A work-related, hands-on learning experience in an off-campus professional setting. Students are mentored by an experienced professional in the field, and overseen by a departmental faculty member.
Prerequisites: Major in sociology; junior or senior standing.

SOC 499 • Senior Seminar 4 Credits.

A culminating experience to put to use knowledge and skills gained during studies done in the department. A guided research project is completed in consultation with members of the department.
Prerequisites: Major in sociocultural studies; two of the following courses: SOC 350, SOC 351, SOC 361; Senior standing. Offered: Spring.

RES 201 • Introduction to Reconciliation Studies 3 Credits.

Overview of theory and literature in the field, contributing factors leading to the need for reconciliation in our world, and paradigms for reconciliation praxis. Biblically based principles and processes for moving toward societal reconciliation. Cultural and religious diversity, conflict resolution, spiritual disciplines, social and economic justice issues (racism, sexism, classism), and related subjects are covered.
Offered: Fall, spring.

RES 207U • Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Our Multicultural World 3 Credits.

Compares and contrasts the lives and messages of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X with an application to the present world situation. Each leader is examined within the context of African-American culture and religion, the broader cultural diversity of the United States, and the rest of the world.
Prerequisites: GES 130 (may be taken concurrently) or GES 244 (may be taken concurrently). Offered: Fall, Spring.

RES 215L • European American Experiences, Whiteness, and Reconciliation 3 Credits.

Explores how family history and upbringing influence understanding of whiteness. Since ideological constructions of whiteness are linked to various injustices confronting people of color, students will wrestle with how to adopt practices within the spirit of reconciliation that break down walls of division for the greater good.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Offered: Fall.

RES 220A • Hip-Hop, The Spoken Word, and Reconciliation 3 Credits.

Engages Hip-Hop and the spoken word as our modern-day Psalms: raw, uncompromising, challenging, confrontational, and confessional. Explores how a conversation among Hip-Hop, the spoken word, and biblical stories cultivate a relationship with God as transparent as the Psalms and Jesus' own relationship with his Father.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Offered: Spring.

RES 305 • Conflict Resolution and Mediation Skills 3 Credits.

Provides practical peacemaking and reconciliation skills relevant to helping Christians resolve conflict in a healthy, balanced way. Focus on using experiential learning to develop negotiation and mediation skills.
Prerequisites: RES 201. Offered: Fall, spring

RES 320 • The Power of Story and Reconciliation 3 Credits.

Explores complex stories that can nurture cultural humility and empathy. Includes readings of creative and biblical narratives with emphasis on listening deeply to others' experiences. Confronts a world divided by difference and explores how stories can foster understanding between peoples.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Offered: Fall.

RES 340Z • Principles and Methods of Intercultural Leadership 4 Credits.

Grounded in a cross-cultural experience, focuses on practical principles and methods for intercultural visioning, administration, training, and communication for cross-cultural work. Emphasizes developing intercultural competencies needed for collaborative and mutually beneficial outcomes in diverse environments (e.g., mission or ministry; profit and not-for-profit; governmental or agency work).
Prerequisites: Junior or Senior Standing or permission of the instructor. Offered: Spring.

RES 481 • Internship in Reconciliation Studies 3-4 Credits.

Practical learning experience to apply understanding and skills of reconciliation studies in a real-world setting.
Prerequisites: RES 201; major in reconciliation studies; junior or senior standing. Offered: Spring

RES 499 • Senior Seminar in Reconciliation Studies 4 Credits.

Prepares students to use the lenses of Christ-centered biblical “reconciliation” theology, critical thinking, multicultural perspectives, social change analysis, and conflict resolution skills for leadership in the work of reconciliation in society. Students study theoretical underpinnings of reconciliation studies and leadership models of reconciliation practice.
Prerequisites: RES 201; Senior standing. Offered: Fall.